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Randolph gift offers little respite to Moyes

April 16, 2017 1:31 AM
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Randolph gift offers little respite to Moyes

Twenty minutes into another dreadful game, in front one of the Stadium of Light's lowest crowds of the season, Moyes stepped into the technical area for the first time. Already one-down after Andre Ayew's fifth-minute strike, the Black Cats manager was greeted by boos from his own fans.

In fact Moyes' popularity rating is so low that the jeering was considerably louder and more sustained than the abuse directed at Andy Carroll, the former Newcastle striker who was named West Ham skipper for the day. And even after Sunderland had equalised, via Wahbi Khazri's in-swinging 26th-minute corner, every time Moyes left the dug-out he got the same unpleasant receptions.

With six games remaining, Sunderland still have a mathematical chance of staying up - and for the last six seasons, their supporters have been relying on a miracle at this stage of the season. But most fans gave up on Moyes and his brittle squad months ago. Although the attendance was officially given as 40,168, the startling number of empty red seats around the stadium suggested the real figure was much lower.

The agony of this season of strife is almost over but it seems unlikely Moyes can survive becoming one of the most unpopular managers in the club's history within the space of eight months.

The former Everton boss has had his hands tied by Short's indifference to the club's on-going plight, as the American finally looks to sell, but the lack of investment cannot excuse the team's performances. Those woes continued almost as soon as this game started. Lee Cattermole may be the epitome of the fighting spirit which has kept Sunderland in the top flight for so long, and he has been sorely missed, but he was booked after 30 seconds.

And soon the home side were behind thanks to some typically ragged defending after referee Andre Marriner had decided Victor Anichebe's fall under Jose Fonte's challenge was simulated. On the break, Sam Byram launched an up-and-under which found Carroll at the far post; his loose half-volley bounced across the area and into the path of Ayew who tapped home unopposed.

To their credit, Sunderland played some good football after going behind but they hardly looked likely to trouble Darren Randolph. Darron Gibson hit an awful drive wide. The unlikely leveller, coming 701 minutes since their last goal on January 14, came from Khazri's inswinging corner, which looped over Randolph, as he wrestled with Anichebe on the line.


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